General Knowledge Current Affairs

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sangeet Natak Akademi fellowships (Akademi Ratna) and Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the Year 2012

The General Council of Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, New Delhi at its meeting held on 21 December 2012 elected three (3) eminent personalities in the field of performing arts, namely N. Rajam, T.H. Vinayakram and Ratan Thiyam as Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellows (Akademi Ratna). The Fellowship of the Akademi is the most prestigious and rare honour, which is restricted to a very limited number at a given time. Presently there are only 40 Fellows of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.

The General Council of the Akademi also selected thirty six (36) persons from the fields of Music, Dance, Theatre and Puppetry for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the year 2012.

In the field of Music, nine eminent artists, namely Rajashekhar Mansur and Ajay Pohankar for Hindustani Vocal Music, Sabir Khan (Tabla) and Bahauddin Dagar (Rudra Veena) for Hindustani Instrumental Music, O.S. Thyagarajan for Carnatic Vocal Music, Mysore M. Nagaraja, (Violin) and K.V. Prasad (Mridangam) for Carnatic Instrumental Music, Illayaraja for Creative & Experimental Music and Bhai Balbir Singh Ragi (Gurbani) for Other Major Traditions of Music have been selected for the Akademi Award 2012.

In the field of Dance, nine eminent practitioners, namely Priyadarsini Govind (Bharatanatyam), Vijay Shankar (Kathak), Vazhengada Vijayan (Kathakali), Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry (Kuchipudi), Sharmila Biswas (Odissi), Jai Narayan Samal (Chhau), Painkulam Damodara Chakyar (Kutiyattam), Jwala Prasad (Music for Dance) and Aditi Mangaldas (Creative & Experimental Dance) have been selected for the Akademi Award 2012.

In the field of Theatre, eight eminent artists have been selected for Akademi Awards 2012. They include Arjun Deo Charan for Playwriting, Tripurari Sharma and Waman Kendre for Direction, Parvesh Sethi, Nirmal Rishi and Purisai Kannappa Sambandan for Acting, Murari Roychoudhury for Theatre Music and Ghulam Rasool Bhagat for Major Traditions of Theatre (Bhand Pather).

For their contribution to Other Traditional/Folk/ Tribal Music/ Dance/ Theatre and Puppetry, eight artists have been selected for the Akademi Award. They are Goru Channabasappa for Folk Music (Karnataka), Kinaram Nath Oja for Suknani Ojapali (Assam), Prem Singh Dehati for Folk Theatre (Haryana), Sulochana Chavan for Lavani (Maharashtra), Mattannur Sankaran Kutty Marar for Thayambaka (Kerala), Govind Ram Nirmalkar for Nacha (Chhattisgarh), Heera Das Negi for Mask Making (Himachal Pradesh) and Prafulla Karmakar for Traditional Puppetry (West Bengal).

Nandini Ramani and Arun Kakade will receive the Akademi Award 2012 for Overall Contribution/Scholarship in Performing Arts.

The honour of Akademi Fellow has been conferred since 1954 and Akademi Award since 1952. They not only symbolize the highest standard of excellence and achievements on a national basis, but also recognize sustained individual work and contribution to the practice and appreciation of the arts through performance, teaching and scholarship. The honour of Akademi Fellow carries a purse money of Rs 3,00,000/- (Rupees three lacs) and Akademi Awards carry Rs 1,00,000/- (Rupees one lac), besides Tamrapatra and Angavastram.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Govt. Sanctions Funds for Development of Solar Cities Programme

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is implementing a Scheme on ’Development of Solar Cities’ which provides support for 60 cities to develop as Solar Cities in the country. The Ministry has given sanctions for 41 cities for developing as Solar Cities. Gandhinagar, Nagpur, Chandigarh and Mysore are being developed as Model Solar Cities. The Ministry has approved the Master Plants for the 28 Cities and the project installations have already started in few cities.

In pursuance of the programme, a one day ‘National Meet on Solar Cities’ was inaugurated by Shri Gireesh B Pradhan, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy on 22nd November 2012, at India International Centre, New Delhi. The Secretary asked the Municipal Corporations to enhance the use of renewable energy in their area and save the fossil fuel based energy. They can amend the building bye-laws suitably to promote the solar water heaters, solar SPV rooftop systems, kitchen waste based plants in the various establishments of the city. Smt. Nisha Singh Joint Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, emphasized the need for the concerned Ministries to work in coordination with each other.

About 150 persons actively participated in the one day event including the representatives of Municipal Corporations, Developers, Financial Institutions, International Agencies, Manufactures, Investors, Technology Providers and State Nodal Agencies, banks etc. The aim of this meet was to discuss the “Ways Forward” after Master Plan for execution of renewable energy/energy efficiency related projects in respective solar cities. The Municipal Commissioners of Thane, Mysore and Shimla actively participated in the event.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Janani-Shishu Suraksha Karyakram

In JUNE 2011, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India launched the Janani-Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK), a national initiative which entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to absolutely free and no expense delivery, including caesarean section.

The scheme emphasies utmost importance on “Free Entitlements”. The idea is to eliminate out-of-pocket expenses for both pregnant women and sick neonates. Under this scheme, pregnant women are entitled for free drugs and consumables, free diagnostics, free blood wherever required, and free diet up to 3 days for normal delivery and 7 days for Caesarian section. This initiative also provides for free transport from home to institution, between facilities in case of a referral and drop back home. Similar entitlements have been put in place for all sick newborns accessing public health institutions for treatment till 30 days after birth.

The JSSK initiative is estimated to benefit more than one crore pregnant women and newborns who access public health institutions every year in both urban and rural areas.


India has made considerable progress in reduction of Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), but the pace at which these health indications are declining needs acceleration. The number of institutional deliveries has increased significantly, after the launch of Janani Suraksha Yojna (JSY) in the year 2005 but many of those who opted for institutional deliveries were not willing to stay for 48 hrs, hampering the provisions of essential services both to the mother and neonate. Moreover, the first 48 hours after delivery are critical as complications like haemorrhage, infection, high blood pressure, etc are more likely to develop during this period and unsafe deliveries may result in maternal and infant morbidity or mortality.

Access to mother and child health care services were also hindered by high out of pocket expenses on user charges for OPD, drugs and consumables, diagnostic tests etc. In some cases such as severe anaemia or haemorrhage requiring blood transfusion can also increase immediate expenses. The same becomes still higher in caseC section is being done. So, JSSK has been launched, to ensure that each and every pregnant woman and sick neonates upto one month gets timely access to health care services free of cost and without any out of pocket expenses.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

India Signs Agreements with World Bank for US$ 320 Million AID

The Loan and Project Agreements for World Bank (IBRD) assistance of US$ 320 million for Assam State Roads Project were signed between Government of India and the Government of Assam respectively and the World Bank in New Delhi today. The Loan Agreement was signed by Shri Prabodh Saxena (Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs) on behalf of Government of India and Mr. Onno Ruhl, Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank. The Project Agreement was signed by Shri Mohan Chandra Boro, Commissioner & Special Secretary, Public Works Road Department on behalf of the Government of Assam.
The Objective of the project is to enhance the road connectivity in Assam by assisting the Public Works Road Department to improve and effectively manage its road network.
Project Component: The project will have three components:
1. Road Improvement: This component will support improvement of priority sections of secondary roads in Assam to improve state connectivity and facilitate regional integration.
2. Road Sector Modernization and Performance: This component will support the implementation of Assam’s Road Sector Modernization Program
3. Road Safety Management: This component will strengthen safety management capacity of related agencies in Assam through developing and implementing a multi-sector road safety strategy.
The IBRD loan has a variable spread over LIBOR and is a US $ denominated loan. The project will be implemented over a period of six years.

President confers Dr Durgabai Deshmukh awards

The President confers Dr. Durgabai Deshmukh Awards for Women’s Development for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 today (November 5, 2012) at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The eighth Award for 2005 was jointly given to Mizoram Hmeithai (Widows) Association and People’s Forum, Bhubaneswar. The Mizoram Hmeithai (Widows) Association has been working to bring succour and relief to thousands of widows and destitute women and hundreds of abandoned orphan children. The People’s Forum, Bhubaneswar was awarded for its landmark services in the rescue and rehabilitation of hundreds of mentally ill women and for its exemplary work with women in distress.

The ninth Award for the year 2006 was awarded to Sumangali Seva Ashram of Bangalore. The main activities of the Sumangali Seva Ashram are care, education and development of deserted, orphan and needy children and socio-economic opportunities for development of women.

Snehalaya of Ahmednagar was awarded the tenth Award for the year 2007 for its landmark work in the rehabilitation of women of red light areas and other destitute women.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Australian honour for Sachin Tendulkar


Sachin Tendulkar is all set to become the first Indian sportsperson to be conferred with the Membership of the Order of Australia, an honour “rarely” bestowed on non-Australians.The ‘Order of Australia’ is an order of chivalry to recognise Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Nobel Prize 2012

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2012 was awarded jointly to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems"

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2012 was awarded jointly to Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors"

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012 was awarded jointly to Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka "for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent"

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 was awarded to Mo Yan "who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary".

The Nobel Peace Prize 2012 was awarded to European Union (EU) "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe".

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academics and Management: 2012

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee conferred on Smt. Tessy Thomas, the prestigious Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academics and Management: 2012 at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan today. The President congratulated Smt. Tessy Thomas and said that she had made the country proud by her achievements.

In a career spanning over 24 years, Smt. Tessy Thomas has contributed in various fields such as Guidance, Control, Inertial Navigation, Trajectory Simulation and Mission Design. She is also the Associate Project Director (Mission) for Agni-I, II & III systems. She has been associated with the Agni Programme right from their developmental stages. She has designed the guidance scheme for long range missile systems which is used in all Agni missiles. Currently, she is the Project Director of Agni –IV, which is a major project with state of the art technologies. The Agni-IV was successfully flight tested on 15th November, 2011. This is a state of the art system with range to launch mass ratio of 15% better than its equivalent missiles across the world. Smt.

Tessy is Project Director (Mission) for the long range Agni – V System also and has successfully flight tested Agni – V on 19th April, 2012. She, as the Technology Director for Mission Design and System Analysis Group of Advances Systems Laboratory, has significantly contributed in the development of various systems associated with missiles technology.
The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award, instituted by the Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management (LBSIM) honours each year an Indian, residing either in India or abroad, who is an exceptionally outstanding and distinguished business leader, management practitioner, public administrator, educator or institution builder for his/her sustained individual contributions and achievements of high professional order and excellence. The honour carries a cash award of Rupees Five Lakh plus a Citation and a Plaque. The Awardee’s name is inscribed on the Roll of Honour of LBSIM and he/she is designated as Lal Bahadur Shastri Fellow.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

International Day of Non-Violence

In 2007 the United Nations (External website that opens in a new window) has declared October 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence (External website that opens in a new window). According to the United Nations General Assembly resolution on 15 June 2007, which established the commemoration, the International Day is an occasion to "disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness". The resolution reaffirms "the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence" and the desire "to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence".

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

MOOWES gets Priyadarshini Award

Marketing Organisation of Women Entrepreneurs (MOOWES) has won the Priyadarshini Award at the 12th Global Conference, in association with IFWE (International Federation of Women Entrepreneurs), on ‘Trade Liberalisation and its Global Impact on Women Entrepreneurs,’ held at Hotel The Ashok, New Delhi, from September 3 to 5.

The programme was organised by FIWE (Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs), Delhi.

Seetha Ranganathan, president-MOOWES, received this award for the Marketing Organisation.

Janaki Ananth, secretary-MOOWES, received an individual award for best Women Entrepreneur.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

International Day of Peace 21st September

In 2002 the General Assembly officially declared September 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. By creating the International Day of Peace, the UN devoted itself to worldwide peace and encouraged all of mankind to work in cooperation for this goal. During the discussion of the U.N. Resolution that established the International Day of Peace, it was suggested that:

"Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace."

Since its inception, Peace Day has marked our personal and planetary progress toward peace. It has grown to include millions of people in all parts of the world, and each year events are organized to commemorate and celebrate this day. Events range in scale from private gatherings to public concerts and forums where hundreds of thousands of people participate.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Human rights as a career

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, irrespective of nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are interrelated, interdependent, and indivisible.

Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the form of treaties, customary international law, general principles, and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.

Human Rights legislation commonly contains:

  • Security rights that protect people against crimes such as murder, massacre, torture, and rape
  • Liberty rights that protect freedoms in areas such as belief and religion, association, assemblies, and movement
  • Political rights that protect the liberty to participate in politics by expressing themselves, protesting, voting, and serving in public office
  • Due process rights that protect against abuse of the legal system such as imprisonment without trial, secret trials, and excessive punishment
  • Equality rights that guarantee equal citizenship, equality before the law, and non-discrimination
  • Welfare rights (also known as economic and social rights) that require the provision of education and protection against severe poverty and starvation
  • Group rights that provide protection for groups against ethnic genocide and for the ownership by countries of their national territories and resources

Violation of Human Rights

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, fundamental rights are violated when:

  • A Certain, Creed or a group is denied recognition as a “person” (Article 2)
  • Men and Women are not treated as equal (Article 2)
  • Different Racial or Religious groups are not treated equally (Article 2)
  • Life, liberty, or security of a person are threatened (Article 3)
  • A person is sold as or used as a slave (Article 4)
  • Cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment is used on a person (such as torture or execution) (Article 5)
  • Punishments are dealt arbitrarily or unilaterally, without a proper and fair trial (Article 11)
  • Arbitrary  interference into personal, or private lives by agents of the state (Article 12)
  • Citizens are forbidden to leave their country (Article 13)
  • Freedom of Speech or religion are denied (Article 18 & 19)
  • The right to join a trade union is denied (Article 23)
  • Education is denied (Article 26)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Making a career in Hindi Language

Hindi is the second most spoken language in the world, after Chinese. About 500 million people speak Hindi in India and abroad, and the total number of people who can understand the language is near about 900 million.

Hindi language has its roots in the classical Sanskrit language. The language acquired its current form over many centuries, and numerous dialectical variations still exist. Hindi is written in the Dev Nagari script, which is common to several other Indian languages as well. Much of the vocabulary of Hindi comes from Sanskrit. Its grammar too has similarities with Sanskrit.

Hindi as an Official Language

The Constitution of India declares Hindi in the Dev Nagari script as the official language of the Union (Article 343(1)). Hindi is also enumerated as one of the twenty-five languages of the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. The Constitution of India has stipulated the usage of Hindi and English as the two languages of communication for the Central Government.

It was envisioned that Hindi would become the sole working language of the Central government by 1965 (as per directives in Article 344 (2) and Article 351), with State governments being free to function in languages of their choice. However, passage of the Official Languages Act (1963), provided for the continued use of English, indefinitely, for all official purposes. Therefore, English is still used in official documents, courts etc. However, the constitutional directive to the Central government to spread Hindi was retained.

At the State level, Hindi is the official language of the following States in India: Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Delhi. Each of these States may also designate a co-official language; in Uttar Pradesh for instance, this language is Urdu. Similarly, Hindi is accorded the status of co-official language in several States also.

Hindi as a global language

This is worth mentioning that there is a growing interest among our foreign counterparts to understand the rich Indian culture. That is why many foreign countries have established centres of learning to promote Indian studies. A part from offering courses on Indian Religion, History and Culture, these centres also offer courses in several Indian languages like Hindi, Urdu and Sanskrit. In the globalisation and privatisation scenario, growing business relations of India with other countries have been necessitating the need of cross-learning of the languages of the concerned business partner countries.

This development has added to the popularity of Hindi as a popular and easy to learn Indian language in other countries. Some schools in US have  decided to introduce Hindi as a foreign language along with French, Spanish and German. Hindi has earned a global recognition for itself in linguistic arena.

Hindi as a technical language

The development in Language Technology in Indian languages and especially in Hindi started with the establishment of the Mission for the Technology Development in Indian Languages (TDIL) under the Department of Electronics in 1991. Thereafter, a lot of activities under the Mission were started. Considering the richness of Indian languages, it was decided to develop a corpus of three million words in each of the constitutionally accepted languages including Hindi in 1991. Accordingly the development of Hindi corpora was entrusted to IIT Delhi.

The sources of Hindi corpora are printed books, journals, magazines, newspapers and government documents published during 1981-1990. It has been categorized into six main categories viz. Social Sciences, Physical & Professional Sciences,  Aesthetics, Natural Science, Commerce, Official and Media Languages and Translated Material. Software Tools for word level tagging, Word Count, Letter Count, Frequency Count have also been developed.  About thirty lakh words of machine readable corpora have been developed in Hindi by various institutes.

Apart from this, Hindi Word Processors have been developed by various Organizations starting form Siddharth (DCM in 1983), Lipi (Hinditronics 1983). ISM, lleap, Leap Office (CDAC, Pune) since 1991 under development of GIST, Shreelipi, Sulipi, APS, Akshar and others so many word processors for Hindi. CDAC Pune pioneered the GIST Technology which facilitates the use of Indian languages in Information Technology. It uses the Indian Script Code for Information Interchange, their representation on Screen and Printer using the special fonts (ISFOC), common keyboard layout for different scripts (INSCRIPT) etc.

Job Opportunities in Hindi Language

With the immense popularity and international importance of our national language, there is also a growing vista of employment in the field of Hindi language. 

In different departments of the Central government , State governments (in Hindi speaking States), it is mandatory to work in Hindi language. So there are various posts like Hindi Officer, Hindi Translator, Hindi Assistant, Manager (Official language) in different departments and units of Central / State governments.

The opportunities have increased manifold with the advent of private TV and Radio channels and launch of Hindi versions of established magazines / newspapers. In the field of Hindi media, there is a need for Editors, Reporters, Correspondents, Sub Editors, Proof Readers, Radio Jockey, Anchors etc. A Degree / Diploma in Journalism / Mass Communication along with academic qualification in Hindi is an added advantage for job seekers. One can serve the mediums of Radio / TV / Cinema as a Script Writer / Dialogue Writer / Lyricist. This field necessitates a natural and artistic mastery of creative writing. But a degree / diploma in creative writing will enhance one’s style of writing.

This includes translation of the works of eminent International writers into Hindi and also those of Hindi writers into English and other foreign languages. There is also the work of translating scripts of films / advertisements into Hindi/ English. But bi-lingual efficiency is the essence of this field. One can earn one’s livelihood as a freelance translator and can also set up one’s translation firms. Such firms take up assignments on contract basis and provide employment to many professional translators. There are also opportunities of translation projects from foreign agencies. The task can be easily done through internet.

There are seemingly endless numbers of language companies all over the world like  Systran, SDL International, Detroit Translation Bureau, proz etc. The majority of these linguistically oriented companies offer many services available in multiple languages, and one of the languages is Hindi. Other companies solicit language services from these companies on contract basis. Usually, career opportunities in these firms are available in the form of permanent or freelance translators and interpreters.

Now we find every global publication house struggling to make space for their existence in the masses, particularly the Hindi belt. Most surprisingly the leading multinational publishing houses not only started commissioning Hindi publication but started publishing translated version (in Hindi) of best sellers also on a massive scale. So there is  a great opportunity as a translator, editor & composer in big publishing houses.

There is a job opportunity in foreign countries for the Post Graduates in Hindi language, especially those who have completed their Ph.D. Scope of teaching Hindi language and linguistics in foreign universities is increasing tremendously after it has been recognized as a language of business by some foreign countries. One can always choose the traditional option of teaching Hindi at schools, colleges & universities as teacher and professor in India

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Career Opportunities In Horticulture

The term “horticulture” comprises the cultivation of fruits and vegetables, ornamental flowers, medicinal and aromatic plants and their post-harvest management. Presently our country is next to China in area and production of fruits and vegetable crops and  has been contributing 10% of fruits and 14% of vegetable of the total world production.  India leads the world in the production of mango, banana, sapota, acid lime and cauliflower while the highest productivity of grape is also recorded here. India occupies second position in production of onion and third in cabbage production globally.  Fruits such as mango, banana, citrus, guava and apple account for 75 per cent of the total fruit production in the country. India produces about 70 different varieties of various vegetables. The horticulture sector constituted nearly 20 per cent of agricultural GDP and contributes 4 per cent in the national economy. Despite having all the favourable factors, the desired level of development in horticulture has not been achieved because of a number of constraints like low productivity of many fruits and vegetables than international averages. Non availability of good planting material, lack of post harvest management and less value addition etc.. As of today, horticulture is considered, one of the fastest growing sectors in agriculture and is a thrust area to stimulate agricultural growth, spurred by the changing domestic food habits towards more nutritious food and increasing overseas demand. The area and production under horticulture crops was 12.77 million hectares and 96.56 million tonnes respectively during 1991-92 after that a huge spurt in horticulture has arisen and it reached to 20.66 million hec area and 223.8 mt production by 2010 (NHB).

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